Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, visits the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, August 22, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Eric Adams

“It is not because of the soil, but because you’re made of good quality. It’s the people, folks!” said Mayor Eric Adams. He wound up a three-day visit to Israel on Thursday,

By Beth Stern, United with Israel

Eric Adams had received strong support from the religious Jewish community in his successful run for New York City mayor a year and a half ago, after being Brooklyn borough president, where many ultra-Orthodox Jews live.

During his three-day trip, he visited the Western Wall along with other Jerusalem holy sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; he attended a tech event, where he was greatly impressed by the Startup Nation; he visited diverse Israelis, such as leading Orthodox rabbis and protesters against the current government; he attended a tech event organized by the Combat Antisemitism movement, where he met with innovators and business leaders; and he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who took the vegan mayor on at tasting tour of innovative Israeli products that met his dietary needs, such as cultured steak, vegan honey and plant-based kebabs and burgers.

They also discussed the strong Israel-New York ties both in the business sense and culturally, as the city has the largest Jewish community outside of Israel, a fact that the mayor repeated wherever he went.

In fact, every single New York mayor has visited Israel since the founding of the state, in acknowledgment of the bond between their constituents and the ancient Jewish homeland. Adams called Israel “a real partner in the region” and especially praised the new technology he has learned about on his visit.

Adams was guest of honor on Wednesday evening at the “White City Soirée” in Tel Aviv, co-hosted by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), F2 Venture Capital, and Ximus Forum,

“Hard is starting this country being surrounded by people who hated you,” the mayor said. “Hard is figuring out how to do drop irrigation so you can start growing your own products. Hard is building and being not only a start-up nation, but now leading a number of start-ups you’re seeing across the globe.

“And the reason you’ve survived layers and layers of difficulties and you’re still here, it is not because of the soil, but because you’re made of good quality. It’s the people, folks!”

“Don’t stop believing, Israel,” he added. “That is the potent secret weapon. All of you who are start-ups, you believed in something. The original start-ups were your parents and grandparents, they believed in something. Israel is a unicorn because of them. Don’t abandon what they built.”

He paid special attention to advances in artificial intelligence for law enforcement, perhaps because he was a captain in the NYC police department before turning to politics.

Law enforcement may also have been on Adams’ mind for another reason – the record-breaking number of antisemitic incidents in his city over the last year. During his tour of the Western Wall, he brought up the subject, saying, “As the mayor of New York City, I want to send a clear message from here, the home of the Jewish people, and to strengthen our resolve to combat antisemitism.”

At another point in his visit, he said that his administration will “strongly arrest and prosecute those who commit antisemitic hate crimes.” Prosecutors, he added, would have a “zero-tolerance, no plea bargain” policy against antisemitism.



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